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University response to RUSU Next Steps

In response to our WE’RE HERE FOR YOU: RUSU’S NEXT STEPS document that we shared, the Uni have responded outlining how they are working to achieve these goals. We have been Working with the University on many of these points in the last week, and look forward to continuing to work with the University to achieve these steps.

Dear Molli, Fifi, Gemma, Zeid and Daisy

Thank you for your recent letter in which you made some recommendations for next steps to further support our student community to mitigate the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

These suggestions are very helpful and, further to Elizabeth’s previous email to Fifi on 18 April, we are writing to report that many are already in progress. Please see below for an update on each of these in turn.

CIP Process

We are working on some updates to the Circumstances Impact Process (CIP) form to make this more straightforward and with less emphasis on evidence required. We hope these changes will be made this week, but they will also need up-loading to RISIS which may take a bit longer. We know that you, Fifi, have offered to work with the relevant Teaching & Learning Deans on this and we are very grateful for that.

Marks ‘Safety net’ rationale

We have published two additional ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on our Essentials webpage on the marks ‘safety net’, which provide further information about our decision-making for the marks ‘safety net’. We hope this helps explain our rationale and provide reassurance that we have made these decisions with the best interests of our students at the forefront of our minds.

Re-sit plans

We are finalising decisions and starting preparations for the August/September re-sit period and we will communicate details shortly once we can provide full details for those students who will be taking assessments during this period of time.

Communications platforms

The home page of our website has a prominent link to a dedicated ‘COVID-19 information page’ which then has further links for specific advice for current students, staff, and prospective students. We have also published all significant updates on our social media channels, as well as sending regular email updates to all students. We would be very happy to hear further thoughts or suggestions from you about what type of additional information students would find useful to be shared on social media.

Information sharing

We have been offering additional advice for our Academic Tutors to help them provide the best support for students at this time. We always strive to provide students with answers to their queries as quickly as possible. We recognise, however, that the speed at which some decisions have been made, combined with the challenges of a sudden shift to home-working, has meant it has been difficult at times to ensure these are communicated effectively to everyone who needs to know. Please rest assured that we will continue to do our utmost to keep all students and staff updated with the latest information.

Finalist support

We are committed to providing careers support for our finalists and taught postgraduate students in particular at this time. We would encourage students to contact the Careers team for an online consultation appointment if they would like further advice. With regards to providing a letter for employers, it is important to note that we hope our marks ‘safety net’ and CIP will mitigate negative impact on students’ results. However, we would be happy to discuss this idea further with you to find out more about what you think would be most helpful for students.

PG students

We recognise that both taught and research postgraduate students will have particular needs and we are working on plans to support them over the summer period in particular. We will continue to do our best to provide these students with tailored advice.

Government support

Please do share any draft letters with us and we will consider how best to share them with relevant government stakeholders.

We hope this update is useful and we look forward to continuing to work with you to support our student community at this time.

Best wishes
Elizabeth and Julian

Professors Elizabeth McCrum and Julian Park
Pro-Vice-Chancellors (Education and Student Experience)
Vice-Chancellor’s Office

e.m.mccrum@reading.ac.uk
j.r.park@reading.ac.uk